Friday, May 8, 2020
Dear St. Mary’s Parishioners:
I bring you greetings on behalf of our Cathedral community – vestry, clergy, and staff. I hope you are well in this unprecedented time and making it through as best you can.
We’ve been in transition for over a year, and we have a bit more transitioning to do. As you can see from her letter, Interim Dean Laura F. Gettys is responding to a new call which will take her away from us. As Senior Warden I cannot thank her enough for her leadership, abilities, and love for all of us, over her ten years here. In her year and a half as Interim Dean, she has worked hard to impose order on the running of the Cathedral, instituting procedures and helping us get our finances in order. The Bishop shared these thoughts: “I would like to thank Laura for her faithful, dedicated service to St. Mary’s Cathedral and the diocese. During this period of transition, the diocese will continue to provide support for the clergy and lay leadership of the Cathedral.”
I’ll admit that change isn’t easy for me, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. But change we must and change always brings with it new opportunities. Let’s take things a piece at a time:
Laura’s last day with us will be Sunday, May 31, the day of Pentecost. We will not be in the Cathedral on that Sunday, so that will make saying good-bye hard. We’ll have to do it in person later. Laura won’t be far down the road – we know where to find her!
Canon Pastor Patrick Williams will complete his 3-year term with the Cathedral at the end of August. He may be able to stay a month or two longer, but he is in the process of seeking new calls, and we certainly wish him the best in his search and thank him for his service to our Cathedral.
Deacon Drew Woodruff will continue to be with us, as he has for over forty years. Thank you Drew!
To assist Patrick and Drew, we are very blessed to have the services of the The Rev. Eyleen Farmer. She is retired, and her resume is very impressive. She has served as Associate Rector at Calvary and Grace-St. Luke’s. Many of you know her as the founder of Thistle and Bee. This organization’s mission is to help women who have survived prostitution and trafficking to thrive. It began with a social enterprise based on beekeeping and selling honey, and they provide each woman services based on her needs.
The vestry has spoken with Bishop Phoebe about these changes and the next phase of our transition. She is going to allow the search for our new dean, which had been unofficially suspended during the COVID-19 event, to go forward. Our hope is to have a new dean in place by Advent.
We will continue to have online services on Sundays, other online events during the week, music from choir members and others every day, and our food ministry weekly. Bishop Phoebe and the clergy of the diocese are formulating plans to reopen our churches. We won’t do it until it can be done safely.
I know this is a lot of information to digest at one time. Please reach out to me, the clergy, the staff, or any vestry member if you have any questions, or if there is anything you would like to discuss.
Together, we will march forward, as St. Mary’s has for over 160 years, listening to God’s call to us and doing our best to discern and fulfill it. We’ve been there through good times and hard times. We’re still standing, and we are always the better for the experience. It is a pleasure to serve with you.